A few weeks ago I was getting ready for bed when I heard a ridiculous noise coming from my garage – POP, BOING, BANG, CRASH – I have no idea how to describe it in any other way 🙂
“WTF was that.. I thought to myself..,” so I… very hesitantly… went to check it out.
I slowly opened the door from inside my house and flipped the light on. I looked around a little bit expecting the worst. To my surprise I didn’t notice anything different at all.
So I eased in and looked around a little more, on high alert, and got a little bit closer to the action.
Then I saw it. One of the springs on my garage door had popped off and slammed up against the wall in a violent rage, unfortunately also bouncing off of said wall and hitting the roof of my car in the process.
Or maybe it was the other way around.
Either way – I’m glad I didn’t see it. I may not be here writing this. 🙂
What’s a nerd to do?
Thankfully no major damage was done and no one was in the garage to get hurt, although the spring was on the complete other side of the garage after all was said and done. It was likely quite a spectacle.
Either way – My garage was no longer whole and I had some things to fix.
Being the uber web nerd that I am, I’m not exactly super mechanically inclined. I do most of my manual labor with my wallet.
I mean I can use a screwdriver and table saw, but normally when I do anything that doesn’t involve 1s and 0s, I end up messing it up at least once.
Needless to say I wasn’t about to try to fix these springs of death in my garage, of which probably all needed to be replaced and there were 4 of.
So I had a garage repair company come out and give me a quote. They were nice guys with good reviews, but let’s just say they weren’t doing me any favors on cost – at least not on the quote.
They knew the value of their services, especially to a web nerd living on the East Side of Louisville, but I digress.
After the inspection of what “needed” to be done, I had a quote in my hand for over $800.
Yes… $800 to get my garage working properly, and of course not die trying to do it myself.
I still didn’t want to do it myself, but I figured it would be a few hundred at most. Clearly I had underestimated the magnitude of the work.
Now here’s the lesson in this story
A lot of people would have done one of two things.
- Scoffed at the quote and attempted to do all of this themselves
- Pay the $800 and eat ramen for the next 6 months
I ate way too much ramen in college, and I wouldn’t have garage doors or teeth to this day if I had attempted to do this myself, so I had to figure out another way.
The biggest mistake with negotiation is not negotiating in the first place. There’s always a solution. Having even just a short conversation can go a really long way.
The lesson here is to ALWAYS NEGOTIATE – plain and simple.
Never assume that you don’t have other options to get your desired result.
In this situation, my desired result was getting my garage doors working, and in looking a bit closer at the quote I received, it included some things that were in excess of that result.
Clearly I had some negotiation room.
Negotiation doesn’t have to be a battle of push and pull. It can be a pleasant conversation, and that’s what it turned out being in this case.
This quote not only included parts and labor for the springs that needed to be replaced, but it also included replacement of 3 or 4 other pieces of my garage doors that were working just fine.
Sure – I may need to replace those things in the future, quite likely way down the road, but there was no reason I needed to do it right now.
I won’t fault the company I worked with for trying to upsell me on a few things. They’re just trying to make money for their business, and having done some freelancing myself I completely understand.
Some people may have even wanted those things and would have seen them as positives, but in my situation what I needed was pretty minimal.
So here’s where the magic happened
Within the span of a two minute phone conversation I was able to get the quote from $800 down to $345.
This final price included everything I needed with parts, labor, and warranty coverage, and simply eliminated some of the upsells I didn’t need and re-used a few other pieces that were still working fine.
I’m all about big wins like this. In just two minutes I was able to save $455.
Just think how many meals out or other small luxuries you would need to skip to save $455, and think how long that would take you to do.
Again, the lesson here is in any situation that involves exchanges of large sums of money, (vehicle purchases, compensation offers, your massive cable bill that you pay every month) ALWAYS NEGOTIATE.
Don’t just limit this to when you’re buying things. You can also use it for when you’re getting paid for things yourself.
There is a really good possibility you can spend just a few minutes in a pleasant conversation and end up saving yourself or making yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars, which when handled correctly and automated, can really add up over the course of your life.